….Says Unemployment fuelling drug trafficking
By Michael Eboh & Princess Owoh
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA, said it has seized a total of 56.75 billion kilogrammes of drugs and arrested 85,058 persons for drug and drug-related offences over the last 10 years.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Colonel Muhammed Abdallah (retd) disclosed this to newsmen during a press briefing to flag off the 2019 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
Abdallah stated that during this ten-year period, the NDLEA secured convictions in 16,937 cases, noting that its drug demand reduction programme , anchored on anti-drug sensitization, treatment and rehabilitation has rescued many people from the menace of drug abuse.
He said, “Properties and assets of drug traffickers has been seized and forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria in accordance with the enabling Act. Nigeria, through the NDLEA has collaborated at bilateral and multilateral levels with others countries to address the drug problem.”
He blamed the country’s rising unemployment for the attractiveness of drug trafficking among the youths of the country, while he called for inter-agency synergy and mutual respect to curb the menace.
He said, “We need to do more to address the pre-disposing factors that make drugs trafficking and abuse attractive. These factors include unemployment, which makes drug trafficking attractive; under-employment which makes our youth involved in menial jobs that demand exertion of strength to rely on performance enhancing drugs, for example, those riding Okada for 12 hours in a day.
“We need to do more to empower the frontline agencies saddled with the anti-drugs control mandates in terms of human, material and financial resources.”
He argued that countries, like Nigeria, should hold themselves responsible if they allow their youth to get hooked on drugs, and thereby becoming incapable of taking the reins of leadership.
Abdallah maintained that the Tramadol crisis that engulfed the country, leading to the seizure in 2018 of about one billion pills and tablets of tramadol, of dosages between 120 miligrammes and 400 miligrammes, was another cause for concern in the country.
He said, “We need to recognize that drugs energise the insecurity prevalent in all parts of the nation. We need to do more to secure the future of our youth and the future generations.
“Let me say at this juncture that it has been argued that while nations may find themselves helpless when faced with challenges such as natural disasters and environmental degradation, they should hold themselves absolutely responsible for allowing the drug scourge to devastate their generations of on-coming youths who through indulgence in drug use become incapable of inheriting a legacy of developmental excellence.”